By Linley Bignoux.
Flag carrier Air Mauritius has announced the resumption of its service to Seychelles, which will start with one flight per week, and increase to two weekly flights. The first flight will operate on July 2, while the second will operate July 5.
The new service will be operated by one of the airline’s Airbus A319 aircraft, with seats for 16 Business class and 108 Economy class passengers. The aircraft is one of two in the airline’s fleet, which it used to replace aging Boeing 737-200 aircraft in 2001.
According to Air Mauritius CEO Somas Appavou in a press statement, the new Mahe route will help reinforce the national carrier’s regional network and create better connectivity.
“Our two countries are world-class tourist destinations but as islands, we also share similar challenges like the size of our home markets and our geographical remoteness”. Mr. Appavou stated, “Bringing our islands closer through better air connectivity is key to overcoming such challenges.”
Conversely, Air Seychelles already flies the route with 5 weekly flights to Mauritius. Both Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles are part of the Vanilla Alliance, an airline alliance which promotes improved air connectivity and reinforces diplomatic regional co-operation. However, other than through the alliance the two airlines do not cooperate. The resumption of Air Mauritius flights to Mahe in early July comes after a 15-year absence, as the airline ceased its Mahe route in 2004 citing financial troubles.
The new service will allow connections through Air Mauritius’ hub in Port Louis from Seychelles to South Africa, Australia and more.
In recent years Air Mauritius has expanded its international network in hopes of attracting more tourists to Mauritius. With the new Seychelles route, Air Mauritius currently flies to 24 destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean region. In recent years, the airline has increased services to Shanghai, Geneva and Singapore.
Air Mauritius was founded in 1967 and commenced flight operations in 1972. The airline’s fleet currently consists of two Airbus A350-900, one Airbus A330neo, three Airbus A340-300, two Airbus A330-200, two Airbus A319-100, and three ATR 72-500. It has an additional A330-900 on order as well as four A350-900 aircraft. The airline plans to use the new aircraft to replace its aging A340 fleet.